Category Archives: Art of BI

Exploring MongoDB: Community Edition

MongoDB Community edition is a free, open-source database that is a popular option for powering modern applications. It’s a document-based and distributed database that was designed to leverage cloud technologies. While this may be the lowest-cost way to get started with MongoDB, it still delivers many exceptional benefits and features.

Benefits of MongoDB Community Edition

MongoDB Community edition offers a surprising amount of capabilities given that it’s free software. It’s more than an affordable introduction to the potential of MongoDB. Community edition stands on its own, and is often powerful enough to create a long-lasting foundation for your development projects.

  • Uses the schema you want: You don’t need to choose a schema that’s poorly suited for your workloads. MongoDB’s flexibility allows you to pick the one that meets your needs.
  • Leverages a JSON-based query language: This database technology makes it simple and intuitive to set up queries. You can do it through JSON rather than trying to go through MySQL.
  • Supports common use cases for modern applications: Today’s applications use data in a much different way than legacy software. MongoDB empowers your modern application use cases through real-time aggregation and other robust features.
  • Reduces the potential for data loss: Built-in replication protects your databases from unexpected failure. If something goes wrong, you still have access to your vital databases.
  • Access your database when you need it: Automatic failover is among the many high availability features of MongoDB. You don’t need an enterprise-grade package to take advantage of this functionality.
  • Easily use database sharding: Optimize your application performance through native sharding features. You can horizontally scale as much as you need, to ensure that your databases can meet your workload demands.
  • Set up ad hoc queries: Analyze your data any way you want to through ad hoc queries. Dive deep into this information so you can discover new insights and make better data-driven decisions.
  • Expand your MongoDB experience through the community: This open-source database has enthusiastic support from the third-party development community. You can easily extend the base database technology through contributions from this community. If you run into questions or problems while you’re working with the database, you can also access a variety of documentation and peer support.
  • Access to a broad talent pool: MongoDB is a popular database, so it’s easy to find talent and managed services providers when you need more staffing.

Major Features of MongoDB Community Edition

MongoDB Community edition also offers these features:

  • Arrays and nested objects are stored as values
  • High availability
  • Nest values as deep as you want
  • Sort by any database field
  • Real-time aggregation
  • Indexing

Should You Use MongoDB Community Edition?

The free license of the Community edition offers a low barrier to entry for adoption. When you’re first getting started with MongoDB, testing out application prototypes, and exploring the possibilities of this database, this edition is an excellent choice. It also works well for small and medium-sized applications that don’t need to leverage enterprise-grade features, such as LDAP.

As your organization or development needs grow, you may find that MongoDB Community edition doesn’t quite fit your operational requirements. You have other editions of the database you can turn to in these situations, as well as a vibrant third-party developer community that can extend MongoDB functionality.

Looking for information on MongoDB: Enterprise Edition? Check out my blog on that version here.

Read This Next

MongoDB: Which Version is Right for You?

This paper will give a brief history on MongoDB and why organizations are gravitating toward this open source database system. We’ll then go into the four different versions: MongoDB Enterprise, MongoDB Community, MongoDB Atlas and Percona MongoDB to uncover the pros, cons and different features to give you the big picture of which edition provides the support and functionality you need.

The post Exploring MongoDB: Community Edition appeared first on Datavail.

Understanding Database Security

In today’s age when we talk about security, most of the time we relate it with our finances, health and family. These are the pillars on which our survival and growth is depended on.  Similarly, the survival and growth of a company also depends on how secure its data it.

With technology evolving day by day, it becomes difficult to manage and secure our ever-growing data. Hackers and infiltrators are always looking for opportunities to hack into companies functioning and use the data to target phishing attacks and extortion. Over the past few years, we have seen multiple cases where the data security of companies has been breached and have put them in turmoil.

Keeping our database safe and secure is one of the most important tasks for any database administrator. This is one aspect which we can never afford to compromise on. As we try to invest and adapt new technology it is also important for us to maintain the consistence and security of our data.

So, let’s try to understand more about database security.

What is database security?

Database security can be defined as the set of actions or Tool uses to encompasses a range of security controls over our database management system. Securing database in whichever way possible is one of the key elements for business continuity.

Types of database security

There are two type of database security. One is Physical level and the other is Digital level.

Physical Security

When we talk about Physical security, the first thing that comes to mind is datacenter. Datacenter is a place where actual forms of data are kept in the form of servers. Protecting our datacenter from any unauthorized entry and having a Zero Trust Architecture are few steps which we can implement for securing the premises.

Keeping track and monitoring every movement, transaction or iteration within the datacenters with utmost attention will help to strengthen the security.

Things to consider while managing datacenter security:

  • Geological activity in the region
  • Any form of natural calamities
  • Having proper power backups
  • Securing all the endpoints
  • Regular security audits.
  • Having strict and documented security procedures
  • Having video surveillance and entry logs


Digital Security

Digital security is where we talked about having security controls on software and networks.

Currently there are various database platforms in the market which are competent in managing the database security. Oracle, MS SQL, Azure, AWS etc. are all making sure that database security is giving the highest importance when it comes to Database Management System.

We do see various services, tool and vendors coming up with ideas and different strategies to make sure that there is not loophole present when it comes to securing data.

We also have international agencies such as SOX and HIPAA who performs regular audit on companies to identify any discrepancies in securing the databases.

Things to consider while managing datacenter security.

  • Database and backup encryption
  • Managing database access strictly
  • Enforcing stringent password policies
  • Auditing and monitoring database activates using in-build tools or various other Database monitoring software
  • Applying regular security patches as and when released
  • Setting Network Firewall and Web Application Firewall in place


Above all, no matter where your data resides, whether it be on-premise, cloud or a combination, keeping it safe and secure can be challenging. But with the right approach and proper management it is possible to keep our data safe and secure. If you or your organization is looking for support in managing your database security, partner with Datavail. Contact us to help secure your data.

The post Understanding Database Security appeared first on Datavail.

Exploring MongoDB: Enterprise Edition

MongoDB is a robust open-source database that powers many modern applications. It’s a document-based and distributed database technology that offers significant capabilities and flexibility, making it perfect for a wide range of use cases.

I’ll be exploring all of the versions in next few weeks of MongoDB including Enterprise, Community, Atlas and Percona MongoDB. If you want to cut to the chase and see everything now, please download my latest white paper.

MongoDB Enterprise is one of several versions of this database. As the name implies, it’s intended for enterprise-grade workloads and development projects.

Benefits of MongoDB Enterprise Edition

MongoDB Enterprise edition is offered as part of a subscription to MongoDB Enterprise Advanced. The most significant benefits that you see with this database edition include:

  • Improving your database security: MongoDB Enterprise has a range of security features that protect sensitive data and reduce data loss risks. These include an encrypted Storage Engine, the ability to encrypt data at rest, Kerberos access controls, and auditing.
  • Easily visualize data: You can easily visualize data directly from your databases, allowing you to access these insights faster.
  • Integrating MongoDB with existing platforms and applications: Keep using the software you already have in place at your organization. MongoDB integrates with many popular platforms and applications, and a strong third-party developer community offers extended options.
  • Working with a user-friendly Ops Manager: The powerful Ops Manager streamlines database administration for your organization, so you can get the most out of your MongoDB deployment.
  • Access on-demand training: If you are newly introducing MongoDB to your enterprise, then your change management plan should involve ongoing training. You get access to on-demand training materials so you can bring your team up to speed on working with this database technology. Additional training and support options are available.
  • Reliability and stability for mission-critical workloads: High availability and built-in replication allow your organization to meet SLA requirements and ensure that your databases are accessible when you need them the most. These databases also have built-in failover so you can seamlessly recovery from issues.

Major Features of MongoDB Enterprise Edition

In addition to the features covered in the previous section, you also have access to these capabilities with MongoDB Enterprise:

  • LDAP support
  • Auditing
  • In-memory Storage Engine
  • Ad hoc queries
  • Platform certification
  • Analytics
  • Operational tooling
  • High throughput
  • Native sharding
  • Low latency

Should You Use MongoDB Enterprise Edition?

MongoDB Enterprise has a lot going for it, but it comes at a price. The cost for non-production databases starts at four figures, while production databases start at five figures. You’ll benefit the most from this edition if you need the best available SLA, high throughput, high availability, LDAP support, and exceptional security measures.

If your use case doesn’t need to leverage those enterprise-specific capabilities, you can drastically lower your implementation costs by using a different MongoDB option. The base feature set is often powerful enough on its own for many types of applications, and MongoDB Community edition also acts as an introduction to this database technology.

Want to learn more about other versions of MongoDB? Download our white paper MongoDB: Which Version is Right for You to discover other options.

The post Exploring MongoDB: Enterprise Edition appeared first on Datavail.

9 Strategies to Streamline Application Development

In today’s business environment, it seems there is a sense of urgency to complete every application development project. Once your customers, whether they’re internal or external, understand what a new application can do for them, they naturally want it yesterday. These nine strategies can help you streamline the AppDev process to help meet your customers’ expectations.

  1. Include a Senior Developer from the Start

    When you first start discussing the need for developing a new application, make sure that at least one of your senior developers is involved. The Developer should be an active participant in meetings with your customer and other stakeholders to hear the vision for the application first-hand.

    In addition, the Developer can ask specific questions to clarify the requirements and to define the scope of the project. For example, that person will be able to spot requirements that would require a total change of the architecture of your systems and offer alternatives.

  2. Understand the Reasons for a Request

    You need to avoid a situation where an AppDev team gets a list of requirements without an understanding of why the stakeholders think the application is required. That typically leads to the team making decisions during the development phase that don’t support what the stakeholders are trying to accomplish.

    Having a developer involved from the very inception of a project can help eliminate this problem. But, you’ll also need to be sure to identify the pain the stakeholders are trying to relieve. In addition, when the development team understands the business value of the application they’re developing, it gives them a greater sense of the importance of what they do.

    The development team will do a much better job if they can ask themselves how what they’re building is going to eliminate the stakeholders’ pain and contribute to the company’s success.

  3. Control the Stakeholders’ Expectations

    Stakeholders tend to think big. Besides that, stakeholders from different departments will have different dreams. If you take all of their input at face value, you may end up with a project scope that is completely beyond your abilities.

    It’s important to explore the vision the stakeholders have to identify the easiest way to satisfy their needs. For example, assume that the stakeholders expect a solution that will require eliminating all data silos in the organization. You may have plans in place to do that, but it might not be possible within the scope of the project you’re defining.

    Help the stakeholders do a reality check so that they understand that you are working with some technological constraints. You may be able to suggest a smaller but high-value alternative to meet their needs in the short run while you work on a more global solution.

  4. Contain the Developers’ Enthusiasm

    Developers are typically enthusiastic about trying new things and creating elegant systems. Unfortunately, there are times when that enthusiasm will result in trying time-consuming tricks that might be the most elegant solution, but not the most practical. It’s important to make sure your developers consider the big picture when they’re designing any application.

  5. Put Your Developers in Your Stakeholders’ Shoes

    This will help your developers contain their enthusiasm. Once they understand why stakeholders need an application and what the stakeholders want to do with it, your developers will be in a much better position to keep the solution as simple as possible. The stakeholder doesn’t care about the elegance of the code, they’re just looking for the right outcome.

    User interface designs also benefit from the developers thinking like a stakeholder. It can be difficult for developers to forget what they know. But, if they ask themselves things such as, “would this layout make sense to the folks in accounting,” they’ll get better at it.

  6. Eliminate Features

    It’s not possible to pare down features in every project. But, if you find yourself in a position where the work to be done and the time to do it don’t match, it’s a valid strategy. Most of the time, it’s better to take the time to do fewer things right than it is to try to do everything and end up with an application that no one wants to use.

    The key to using this strategy is to make sure the foundation of the app you’re building is strong enough to include the features you know you’ll want to add in a future version.

  7. Simplify Your Testing Process

    Testing is critical, but today’s trend toward breaking projects down into smaller units can extend the testing process. Look for several projects that work together, and you may find opportunities for eliminating the need to test each unit separately.

  8. Reevaluate Performance Guarantees

    There are undoubtedly many mission-critical systems where getting answers in milliseconds is required. But, not all applications require that same type of performance. High performance usually requires extra system resources and additional time to build, debug, and maintain.

    Odds are a few seconds will not make a difference in the satisfaction level of some projects. And, your stakeholders may be more impressed with the speed of delivery than they would be with a high-performance application that took “too long” to build.

  9. Use Open Source Code Whenever Possible

    Too often, developers don’t think about using open source code. If you’re doing something that others have done before, it makes sense to take advantage of that effort. Joining an open source project isn’t the answer to every challenge, but when you find the right match, you can save a significant amount of time.

If you’re responsible for Application Development or AppDev Support, you undoubtedly know that projects fail regularly. Development teams don’t complete the projects on time or within budget, and sometimes they don’t offer the functionality the stakeholders expected. For more insight, read our whitepaper, “4 Reasons Why Application Development Projects Fail”.

If you’re looking for AppDev Support, many clients have found that using Datavail’s Application Development Sprint Teams make a significant difference in their ability to ensure application development success.

The post 9 Strategies to Streamline Application Development appeared first on Datavail.

DB2 Mainframe Catastrophe Diverted with Open System Migration

This year offers corporate leaders all kinds of ‘teachable moments,’ but perhaps the lesson with the highest value is: ‘always alert to evolving data and database management considerations.’ Datavail has extensive experience assisting its customers in managing database challenges over the years and now posed by 2020.


An emergency project reflects how its expertise helped one customer avoid a digital catastrophe by facing downing a potentially fatal peril triggered by an imminent threat that presented no immediately viable resolution.

Database Failure = System and Business Failure

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of organizations have learned the critical roles that data and data management systems play in maintaining organizational equilibrium:

These facts underscore how data and database management systems inform and drive both small business and global networks and how systems and economies can be devastated when appropriate data isn’t available.

Database Management Mastered … Strategically

The COVID-19 situation is similar to the challenge faced by a Datavail customer at the end of 2019. While not caused by COVID, obviously, this customer faced an equally unexpected development: the imminent (two weeks) loss of all mainframe database support for its entire operation.

The customer offered digital connectivity, voice, and communications services to thousands of on- and off-shore customers. Its database management service provider serviced its extensive (trillions of data bits) tablespaces and databases, all of which required both high security and immediate access. The affiliated 24x7 support services had kept the enterprise in operation for years.

However, in late fall 2019, that vendor abruptly informed their client it was decommissioning its mainframe database server by December 31. Extending extended support beyond that date would cost the company $250,000 per quarter.

The prohibitive cost mandated a different option, and the customer turned to Datavail to find a solution to its problem. Datavail’s experts reviewed the new client’s position and proposed a two-part strategy to:

1. create a viable solution by migrating the data from a DB2 mainframe to a db2 luw open-systems database,
2. within the (now two-week) timeframe,
3. without losing any of the client’s data, and
4. at a cost it could afford.

The client accepted the proposal, and Datavail immediately got to work.

The Strategy – Part 1:

Part 1 of the strategy required assessing the status of the new client’s enterprise on the previous vendor’s soon-to-be-decommissioned database server. However, just gaining access to the server proved problematic as the former database administrator (DBA) had left the vendor company and apparently taken all that client-relevant database information with him. The gaps in access capacity resulted in a delay that added extra pressure to the already time-stressed project.

Once inside the system, the migration challenge only grew more challenging:

  • The client had relied on that DBA to manage all of its data and application functions, and there were thousands of applications, tablespaces, and databases that would require migration.
  • The client also had no personnel available or able to assist with the migration process as the previous vendor had managed all database management activities.
  • Making matters worse: assessment of the server didn’t readily reveal any tools or functions within its capacities that might assist with or curtail the migration; overcoming that knowledge gap had to happen quickly.
  • The data contained in the mainframe was, in itself, a challenge. A wide disparity of data formatting would require extensive repairs to become compatible with the new configuration, and in many cases, those repairs would require individual, hands-on attention.

Not the least challenge was the fact that the database entailed three terabytes of information (3,072 gigabytes), all of which needed to be cleaned, sorted, and organized to migrate correctly.

The Strategy – Part 2:

Datavail devised a small ‘pilot project’ to discern available software on the mainframe to facilitate the migration. Then it created a small but select ‘sample tablespace’ that could export and validate the sample schema and data in the new database. After identifying and repairing any bugs, Datavail’s experts finalized the procedures they would use to move the information from one server to the next. Using those procedures, Datavail’s eight-member migration team was ready to methodically and systematically migrate data segments from the mainframe to its new, db2 luw open-systems destination.

Database Functionality Restored

Not only did Datavail complete the project before the December 31 deadline, but it also accomplished several additional goals to ensure the client had all it would need for full database functionality going forward:

  • It generated iterative views of the data so that users could access their information while reordering it to better fit their new capacities;
  • It left sample scripts and additional artifacts so future users can trace their steps back to earlier configurations, and
  • It created duplicate and redundant data libraries in their original formats to provide users with access to those, if needed, and options if any one version failed.

In the end, the client got all that it wanted: a newly refurbished data management system housed in a freshly configured database, fully functional on the first day of the new year. As good as that was, perhaps the best gift of that holiday season was the project’s cost. Datavail eliminated the issue that had arisen just weeks before and saved the client up to $2 million in annual database support costs.

The Future is Data Technology 

The coronavirus has clearly demonstrated the significance of comprehensive data management to tomorrow’s global digital universe. The Datavail story illustrates how the technology company has already mastered the processes needed to attain and maintain that level of comprehensiveness, to reduce costs, and improve functionality.

Isn’t it time you called Datavail to talk about your mainframe and other database concerns?

Read This Next

How to Address the Mainframe Talent Shortage in 2020
As businesses grow hungrier for big data and analytics, the mainframe continues to be relevant. For example, the Forrester Group found that 50% of respondents to a 2019 infrastructure survey indicated that they plan to grow their use of mainframes over the next two years.

DB2 Mainframe Migration to Open System
New case study details how Datavail helped a communications organization migrate its DB2 mainframe to an open system in two weeks during the peak holiday season.

10 Reasons You Need Half a DBA
Organizations aren’t static and your database staffing needs shouldn’t be any different. Nearly all companies need database administrators but not all companies need a full-time DBA. There are times you might need a ‘half a DBA.’

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